Chinese actor Zheng Shuang fined £33.5 million for tax evasion

Chinese actor Zheng Shuang fined £33.5 million for tax evasion
Many luxury brands have severed ties with the popular actor

Chinese actor Zheng Shuang has been hit with a 299 million yuan (£33.5 million) fine for failing to declare her actual taxable income.

According to reports on Chinese state television network CCTV, the 30-year-old was hit with the hefty tax evasion fine on Friday (27 August).

A spokesperson from the Shanghai Taxation Bureau told the local media that Zheng was paid 156 million yuan (£17.5m) for her role in a 2019 television series, of which only 48 million yuan (£5.3) was officially declared.

In total, Zheng was found to have failed to declare 191 million yuan (£21.48m) from 2019 to 2020, evading taxes totalling 45.27 million yuan (almost £5.1m), and underpaying other taxes to the value of 26.52 million yuan (£2.9m)

Earlier this year, the actor broke her six-month social media silence following a surrogacy scandal, in which her ex-boyfriend accused her of abandoning their two US-born surrogate children.

The controversy erupted in January 2021 after former partner Zhang Heng took to social media to claim he had been stranded in the US for more than a year, left alone to “take care of and protect two young lives”.

In the same social media statement, the Meteor Shower actor denied earning $33.8m (£24.6m) for acting in the Chinese television series A Chinese Ghost Story or signing a controversial “yin-yang contract” – in which one contract is drawn up for the taxman and another for real – to evade her taxes.

“I am willing to make up the shortfall if there are errors caused by my negligence or unprofessionalism,” she wrote. “I hope the tax authorities can accord me due process and not be influenced by the surrogacy incident.”

The actor also shared that her family’s bank accounts have been blocked and that she has no way of earning any income.

Zheng Shuang at the 31st Hong Kong Film Awards in 2012

“If it makes you feel any better, I can tell you that I drink tap water every day to survive, I own a total of five T-shirts and two pairs of jeans, and I have never ordered delivery,” she wrote in a (now-deleted) post. “I even need to be frugal when buying sanitary napkins, and toilet paper has to be used sparingly.”

After the scandal took place earlier this year, Italian luxury fashion house Prada, along with many other brands, severed ties with the popular actor.

A feature on Shuang in the fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar was also said to have been removed from their official Weibo account, the Global Times reported.

Shuang’s reps weren’t immediately available for a comment on the matter.